Did Pope Pius XII and the Vatican really do nothing during the Holocaust to help Jews?
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The New York Times, under the headline “JEWS’ RIGHTS DEFENDED,” wrote on March 14, 1940: “The Pontiff, in the burning words he spoke to Herr Ribbentrop about religious persecution, also came to the defense of the Jews in Germany and Poland.”
DALIN DRAWS ATTNETION in this book to the man whom he regards as the missing personality in the story: Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, a position of influence in the Muslim world to which Hajj Amin had been appointed by the British in 1922. This senior Muslim prelate met Hitler several times during the war, called openly for the destruction of European Jewry, and intervened with Hitler to prevent rescue efforts.
Having been given an office in wartime Berlin, Hajj Amin mobilized political and military support for the Nazi regime. Traveling to German-occupied Yugoslavia, he helped raise a Muslim Waffen SS company, which turned its savage attentions against both Jews and Serbian Christians. In one of his many broadcasts from Germany to the Middle East, Hajj Amin said of the Jews: “They cannot mix with other nations but live, as parasites among the nations, suck out their blood, embezzle their property, corrupt their morals….” Hitler found the Mufti a useful tool.
In answer to Daniel Goldhagen’s charge that the Roman Catholic Church remains a danger to the Jews today, Dalin writes: “It is radical Islam — Hitler’s overt ally in World War II — not the Catholic Church, that threatens Jews today.”
In his book Hitler’s Pope, John Cornwell calls Pius XII the “most dangerous” cleric in modern history. Dalin feels that the Mufti is the one who deserves this title. As Dalin writes: “Hitler’s mufti is truth. Hitler’s pope is myth.”
Professor Dalin’s book is an essential contribution to our understanding of the reality of Pope Pius XII’s support for Jews at their time of greatest danger. Hopefully, his account will replace the divisively harmful version of papal neglect, and even collaboration, that has held the field for far too long.
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